General Zia-Ul-Haq, Indian Airforce

General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq


Born in Jullundur, India in 1924, Zia attended the Royal Indian Military Academy and was commissioned in the British Army in 1945, serving in Burma, Malaya and Indonesia during the Second World War. Despite an undistinguished career, he rose to the rank of general and was promoted to major general in 1972, after the 1971 war with India and the secession of Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1976 passed over more senior officers and named him chief of staff, reportedly because of his lack of political ambition. In July 1977, he carried out a bloodless coup overthrowing the Bhutto government and assumed power as Chief Martial Law Administrator. He assumed the office of President in September 1978 and subsequently had Bhutto charged, convicted, and executed for murder(1979).

Zia reinstated civilian government in 1985 but dissolved it again in May 1988.

General Zia-Ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel were killed in a mysterious plane crash on August 17, 1988, near Bahawalpur, Pakistan Punjab. His remains are buried near Faisal mosque, Islamabad.